Finding the school that’s a good fit — academically, socially and culturally — requires a little self-reflection to identify what matters most to you in a college.
Step 1: Ask yourself 10 questions to discover more about yourself and what you care about in life.
Step 2: Review a list of categories to help you narrow down which college characteristics matter most to you.
Step 3: Use our list our questions on your campus visits to help you identify which colleges might be the best fit for you based on what you've learn in the first two steps.
Step 4: Tease out additional details about a specific college by connecting with people in the know:
- Talk to people in your community: Do you know someone in your area that went to a college you’re interested in? If so, reach out and ask them some questions.
- Talk to current students: Talk to friends who go to the college you’re interested in or friends of friends. If you don’t know anyone, ask an admissions counselor to put you in touch with someone. Here are some questions suggested by one of our colleges to get you started:
- Why did you choose [this institution]?
- What do you like most about it? Why?
- What is the academic atmosphere like?
- How accessible are faculty?
- How do students spend their free time?
- What activities are you involved in?
- How do you get around the campus and the community?
- Do you and your friends feel safe?
- What are the residence halls like?
- How’s the food?
- Talk to admissions counselors: At this point, admissions counselors are probably your main connection to a college, and they are ready to answer any lingering questions you may have.
- Talk to professors: Ask your admissions counselor if you can talk to a professor in a field that you’re interested in.
Use our toolkit as you go through the search process to keep track of your progress. (An updated version of this PDF will be available later this fall.)